The Iowa Hawkeyes moved to 9-0 on the season yesterday after defeating Indiana 35-27. They've gone through a lot of adversity this year and some of that has to do with the health of the team. A number of guys are playing at less than 100 percent while others have missed time this year.
The one storyline week in and week out has been the status of starting quarterback C.J. Beathard. He's a guy that isn't operating at full capacity but you wouldn't know that if you turned on the tape from the contest against the Hoosiers. He not only had an impressive day throwing the ball but also used his mobility to extend plays and pick up yards more than in previous weeks. Beathard even went airborne for one of the touchdowns.
"(His toughness) was unquestioned to me after the first game, and certainly after the second," head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Going back to the second game, that was my wrap up on him. His poise and toughness on the field are extremely impressive. It's skyrocketed in my mind. The touchdown play was a great effort on his part. We can all quit asking what percent he is because I have no idea and certainly he doesn't either. It's a good enough percent to look like a football player out there. He's a tough minded guy."
The Hawkeyes have improved health-wise for the most part. They've returned offensive tackle Boone Myers, running back LeShun Daniels, wideout Tevaun Smith, and running back Derrick Mitchell at times this year. Other guys that have been dinged up some are safety Miles Taylor, safety Jordan Lomax, running back Jordan Canzeri, and offensive tackle Ike Boettger. And of course Drew Ott is out for the year with a torn ACL and tight end Jake Duzey has played sparingly after injuring his knee during the Spring.
They had a couple other setbacks during Saturday's matchup with Indiana but none are considered severe or expected to miss next week's game.
"Akrum (Wadley) tweaked his ankle a little bit," Ferentz confirmed. "I don't think it's anything too major. It's good to have LeShun (Daniels) back. Derrick (Mitchell) has done a good job. He had some blitz pick-ups today and had a reception in there. I think we're getting to close to getting Jordan (Canzeri) back, too. That's the way it's going to be. It's a tough conference and you're going to need everybody. It's going to take a real team effort."
"No, (Tevaun Smith didn't go through the concussion protocol)," Ferentz added. "It was never anything above the neck for him. It was a mid-body deal. Talk about guys playing tough, he came back and played. He's going to be hurting tomorrow, I can promise you that. It's a scary moment when any guy doesn't get up. It was more of the nature of the hit. It's going to take a lot to keep any of them off the field. The same can be said for Nate Meier. He was sore this week. Is he going to make it or not going to make it? I felt like he would just because of the tough guy that he is. But there he was out there playing today."
The Hawkeye head coach also didn't seem too concerned about the injury to Miles Taylor. Taylor did return for the game and also spoke after the game without any concerns for his status next week.
"We're getting down there thin a little bit," Kirk Ferentz shared about the defense. "Miles (Taylor) went down today, another guy that got hurt. Guys are stepping in and doing a good job. When you play a good tempo team like Indiana it puts pressure on the guys. We may cut practice short a couple of minutes on Monday to give them a break coming back."
We already alluded to the possibility of Jordan Canzeri returning this way and Ferentz was pretty blunt after the game in saying that he would be surprised not to see number 33 out there against Minnesota.
"He actually practiced Wednesday," Ferentz noted about Canzeri. "His arrow has been going up faster than what we would have anticipated. He was cleared to play today. We would just like to see more of a volume of work in practice. The good news is that from what we say Wednesday, Friday, and today, there's no reason to think he won't be back next week as long as there's no setbacks. It's been real positive. He wanted to go. We tried to do that with LeShun (Daniels) and it didn't work out too well. We don't want to send anyone backwards."